Posttraumatic Stress Disorder In The Fearless Film Essay Sample For College

Psychopathologies, when they occur, tend to become all-consuming and affect all stages of an individual’s life. In fact, milder and insignificant forms of various disorders and pathologic behaviors can be observed in everyone. For instance, undergoing stress some people become nervous and engage in compulsive behaviors such as nail biting, some begin to overeat, some suffer from temporary periods of low moods similar to depressions. A behavioral pattern is recognized as a psychological or mental disorder when it starts to produce adverse impacts on various spheres of life on an affected person.

For instance, when depression prevents an individual from going to work or when a compulsive behavior interferes with personal and romantic life. Due to their massive influence on the patient’s experiences and lifestyles, psychopathologies have been depicted in a variety of popular films of literary works. This paper discusses one such portrayal. The film chosen for the analysis is called Fearless. It was released in 1993, and it tells a story of a man named Max Klein who has been in a massive airplane crash that took away lives of many people. Along with the other survivors, Max has been suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that has affected his everyday life, work, relationship with his wife, personality, perceptions, and behaviors. Fearless demonstrates a lengthy and complicated way max has to go in order to recover.

Description of Psychopathology: PTSD

Posttraumatic stress is a phenomenon that occurs after an individual has encountered a traumatic event such as a near-death experience, or witnessing of an extremely frightening incident (Help Guide, 2016). Different people may respond to stress differently based on their individual levels of sensitivity, perception, and vulnerability. Events of a certain type may trigger one person and be less stressful to another. PTSD has its risk and resilience factors that determine the individuals’ reactions to stressful incidents. However, there are no fixed mechanisms as to risk and resilience in terms of how people respond to distress.

For instance, Lanius et al. (2015) mention repetitive exposure to stressful events as a powerful risk factor. For instance, a stressful experience or fear that an individual has faced in the past is more likely to cause PTSD when experienced for the second time. However, repetitive exposure also may work as a resilience factor. To be more precise, resilience factors are the aspects that help an individual withstand a potential crisis. That way, undergoing regular stress one is likely to become invulnerable to this particular kind of trigger. For instance, encountering a dead body may be a rather stressful and scary experience for an unprepared person; however, the professionals who work with cadavers on a daily basis are resilient and do not perceive such experience as a stressor.

PTSD has multiple symptoms and manifestations that may occur in various combinations and patterns based on the personalities of the affected individuals. DSM-5 maintains that there are four triggers of PTSD: serious physical injury, sexual assault, the exposure to death, and a threat of death (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). In addition, DSM-5 provides the description of the dissociative subtype of PTSD that is represented by two main behavioral patterns such as depersonalization and derealization (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). These types of behaviors may occur separately from one another or at the same time in a person affected by PTSD. Depersonalization is characterized by the disconnection from reality and the perception of one’s self as unreal whereas derealization is manifested by the view of the surrounding world as not real (Wolf, 2013).

As for the symptoms of PTSD, Mayo Clinic staff (2016) divides them into four groups that are avoidance (escaping from people, places, and activities that would evoke memories of the traumatic event), emotional changes (mood swings from numbness to irritability, loss of sleep and focus, nervousness), negative thinking (pessimistic perspective and attitudes towards future and life in general), intrusive memories (unwanted memories of the traumatic event that occasionally appear in daily life or dreams).

Scenes

This section will present the descriptions of three scenes from the film Fearless that depict different manifestation of PTSD affecting the main character Max Klein, who has survived a terrible airplane crash. At first, Max seemed abnormally well and collected in the circumstances of a horrifying disaster. He managed to save a group of other survivors. Compared to all the other people, Max was calm and even serene providing help to the others and quietly observing the people and situations around. However, over the course of the film, it becomes clear that the main character’s calmness is superficial and illusory. In fact, his unusual behavior is driven by PTSD, which shows itself in a variety of ways and signs.

Scene One: Strawberries at the Diner

The first thing Max does after the airplane crash is rather unusual. He pays a visit to his past meeting with an ex-girlfriend Alison, with whom he was together as a teenager. To see her, Max travels quite a long distance as lives in Los Angeles, far away from Bakersfield, where the plane fell. Max’s behavior involves a multitude of different odd patterns. First of all, the visit is unreasonable. Secondly, the may the main protagonist acts, talks, and his facial expressions show that he is very distant from the reality. He lacks focus and often fails to listen to what Alison tells him about her life. In particular, he avoids negative details. Further, it becomes obvious that Max’s way of making sense of various situations is rather biased. He is incredibly optimistic and happy. He seems to pick up small signs and details that indicate the surrealism of the events around.

In fact, this tendency begins at the very start of the film when one of the survivors calls him and angel for saving her baby. Max looks convinced in his unreality. He acts in a god-like manner. When Alison complains about her family troubles and calls her life a disaster, Max responds, “Believe me, your life in not a disaster” (Weinstein & Rosenberg, 1993). He makes an emphasis on the last word as if he possesses some kind of universal wisdom. His idea of himself as invincible is supported by the order he makes at the diner. He asks for a bowl of fresh strawberries, a product to which he is severely allergic. Surprisingly, Max does not have a reaction to the berries, which serves as another factor to support his belief in his own indestructability. Moreover, the main protagonist’s biased perception of reality makes his theory even more convincing when he notices that the name of the waitress who brought his strawberries is Faith.

Scene Two: Running from the Press

As one of the people who have made a miraculous survival in the crash and the most outstanding passenger due to his heroic behavior in the moment of crisis, Max becomes targeted by the press. The observers of the events do not seem to realize that Max’s calmness during the crash occurred due to his dissociation from the reality as a response to extremely powerful fear. After the air accident was over Max just had not come to senses and remained in that state of euphoric serenity that first appeared as the protagonist found himself assured that the accident was to result in his death. Even before the plane fell, Max realized that, all of a sudden, his fear was gone.

In the discussed scene a group of press representatives finds Max and surrounds him asking questions about the crash. Among them, there is a young boy whom the main character saved and comforted during the crisis. It looks like the boy, who had been lonely on the plane when its engine malfunctioned, has developed an attachment to Max. In fact, the boy admitted to the press that he wanted to meet with Max intentionally because he felt safe with him. Obviously, the boy was undergoing his own form of PTSD accompanied with a feeling of closeness to the person who saved him. However, as the boy begins to retell the details of the accident to the press, Max’s reaction is to run away from the group. This behavior is a sign of avoidance, a typical manifestation of PTSD.

The individuals affected by the disorder tend to escape from the memories of the traumatic event by means of avoiding thinking and talking about it (Mayo Clinic, 2016). Ever since his first conversations with his family and lawyer, Max refuses to talk about the crash stating that he does not remember the details. It is possible that the victims of such traumatic disasters may fail to remember aspects of the events. However, over the course of the film, it becomes clear that Max either began to remembering the details or knew them all along but avoided discussion not to relive the fear and stress. Removing himself from the reminders of the crash, Max feels better right away. In fact, his rapid shifts from calmness to irritability and disturbance and back indicate the changes in emotional responses, one of the four typical groups of PTSD manifestations (Mayo Clinic, 2016).

Scene Three: On the Rooftop

Throughout the course of the film, the main character points out several times that he feels very uncomfortable about telling lies about the air accident and its details. It seems that since lying is connected to stress, Max is extremely reluctant to do it as it intensifies his PTSD symptoms. According to Mayo Clinic’s staff (2016), the intensity of manifestations in PTSD may vary and depend on the surroundings and situations in which the affected individual takes part. Certain actions and experiences may be directly or indirectly connected to the memories of the traumatic event and, thus, cause the increase in the intensity of the symptoms.

Pressurized by the need to lie in court about his memories of the crash, Max undergoes a panic attack. Just like in the scene with the press mentioned earlier, Klein’s response is to run away. This time, he goes to the rooftop of the office building. However, removing himself from the stressful situation does not help. In distress, Max first sits on the ground and breaks down. His second reaction is more extreme as he decides to stand on the edge of the roof and look down maximizing his level of stress and fear. Giving a terrified scream that indicates a very high level of stress, Max feels better the next second. He goes back to feeling abnormally happy in the moment of crisis. In euphoria, he begins to jump and dance on the edge of the roof. Interestingly, this sequence of actions resembles a shortened version of the combination of experiences Max underwent during the crash – panic, horror, sudden relief and calmness, and finally, a wave of powerful confidence in his own safety. It may be possible that a massive outbreak of adrenalin in a stressful situation gives Max a euphoric feeling that he uses as a defense mechanism.

Characterization

Throughout the course of the film, Max, the main protagonist displays all the four groups of symptoms of PTSD – unwanted memories (dreams about the disaster), avoidance of reminders of the air crash (running away from press, scene at the rooftop), changes in emotional responses (rapid shifts from numb to terrified or aggressive), and negative thinking (being convinced that he is a ghost as he is already dead). Besides, the last behavioral pattern indicates that Max is dealing with the dissociative type of PTSD represented by depersonalization and derealization.

The former is demonstrated in his conversations with Carla, another survivor whom he helps to heal after the loss of her son. Max convinces Carla that she can do anything they want because they are ghosts. Derealization is manifested in Max’s deliberate consumption of strawberries that are extremely dangerous for him. As he believes to be an invincible man the world around stops seeming real. Therefore, according to the perception of the protagonist, it cannot present any actual danger to Max – he is not afraid to fly, he eats the food he is allergic to, stands on the edge of the rooftop, and drives his car into a brick wall.

Positive and Negative Messages

The impact posttraumatic stress has on Max is immense, and it changes his life for months. The effects PTSD has are various and cannot be characterized as solely positive or strictly negative.

Positive Effects

Under the influence of PTSD Max seems to rediscover his taste for life. He enjoys simple pleasures and looks rather calm and happy. Of course, these manifestations are just the superficial signs of his psychopathology. However, the form in which Max’s PTSD shows itself turns out extremely helpful for the people around. Max is the only survivor who does not panic after the crash but saves people from the plane and leads them out of the corn field. His response to shock and stress results in dissociation from the reality which makes him behave in a relatively “normal” way compared to the other survivors. As a result, due to his depersonalization and derealization, Max is able to rehabilitate Carla, who is completely consumed by the mourning of her son’s the death.

Moreover, Max’s belief in his own invincibility makes him a braver and more decisive individual who reevaluates his past. For instance, he pays a visit to Alison, whom he had not seen in a long time, and also Max spends a lot of time thinking about his relationship with his father who died when the main protagonist was thirteen years old. Finally, Max displays kindness and generosity towards the others. It is his PTSD that brings Carla back to life and ends her depression because only a man under the influence of derealization and depersonalization could drive his car into a brick wall at a high speed just to demonstrate his passenger that it was impossible for her to save her child in the air accident in the first place. Max helps the young woman realize that she had been blaming herself pointlessly the whole time.

Negative Effects

Due to PTSD, Klein engages in multiple extremely risky behaviors as he believes he cannot be hurt. At the same time, fear (or its superficial absence) becomes his obsession. During the course of the film, the main character uses every opportunity to inform the others that he is not scared. In reality, fear is the emotion that has triggered his PTSD and the experience he has been avoiding ever since the crash. Desperate to prove to himself that he has no fear Max acts as if he has a death wish. His psychopathology makes Max unable to connect with his close ones because they cannot share his experience. He also avoids going to the meetings with the other survivors and their therapist. The only person he befriends is Carla, but their psychological responses to the traumatic event are very different. The interactions between the two friends help the woman, but Max remains unable to move on.

Conclusion

The film Fearless is a very detailed and precise depiction of various forms PTSD may have in different individuals. Max’s psychopathology is rather unusual, but it includes all the key behaviors and reactions typical for this disorder. That way, the movie successfully demonstrates the complexity of PTSD and its manifestations. Besides, the film shows how difficult it is for an affected person to recover from this problem because its elements are intertwined, and therefore, both continuing to function with PTSD or attempting to overcome it throws the patients back into the traumatic memories and recharges their stress.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Posttraumatic stress disorder. Web.

Help Guide. (2016). PTSD: Symptoms, Self-Help, Coping Tips and Treatment. Web.

Lanius, R., Miller, M., Wolf, E., Brand, B., Frewen, P., Vermetten, E., & Spiegel, D. (2015). Dissociative subtype of PTSD. Web.

Mayo Clinic. (2016). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Web.

Weinstein, P., & Rosenberg, M. (Producers), & Weir, P. (Director). (1993). Fearless. [Motion picture]. United States: Warner Brothers.

Wolf, E. J. (2013). The dissociative subtype of PTSD: Rationale, evidence and future directions. PTSD Research Quarterly, 24(4), 1-8.

Public Opinion In The American Political System

Question 1: Discuss the role of public opinion in the American political system.

The role of public opinion in the American political system ranges from a secondary monitoring tool to the primary policy-making factor depending on the party, which defines it. One of the radical views of public opinion is as follows: it reflects the public reaction to the activities of politicians but does not provide a sufficiently reliable picture and thus cannot be used to direct the political process. Such a view also suggests that the public is easily manipulated, and thus the results of the polls and surveys are relatively worthless. On the other hand, public opinion is one of the few feasible and measurable manifestations of the people’s decisions, which is a core component of democracy. The advocates of this approach point to the fact that the survey results usually stay consistent over time and are not as unreliable as suggested by the opponents. Besides, while it is possible to manipulate the opinion and the results of surveys, several approaches exist to mitigate these discrepancies. One of these is public judgment – an approach that combines the data gathering with informing the respondents on the issues which may not be evident to the less politically informed individuals. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2011 on immigration policies is a good example of public judgment: the results were different once the public became aware of the issues of welfare of immigrants’ children (Goo, 2015). This example is important as it strengthens the importance of public opinion by improving its reliability.

Another way of improving the consistency of the feedback is the deliberative polling technique: a randomized sample of a population is engaged in an organized discussion of the event, followed by the survey. In this way, the limitations of political illiteracy are minimized, while the representative nature of the results is preserved. The initial results are usually sufficiently different from the subsequent ones, as is illustrated, for instance, by the Texas experiment, where the support of the wind power generation rose by 30% (Fishkin, 2012).

As can be seen from the examples, public opinion can be deemed a reliable and consistent way of expressing people’s will and thus plays an important role in political decision making.

Question 2: With money replacing time and membership as key parts of the interest group system, describe the impact on American democracy. Which groups are being negatively affected or left out of the process of interest group influence of policy and policymakers?

With the growing costs of political proceedings, money plays a gradually stronger role in the functioning of interest groups. In particular, the interest group needs a firm financial basis to support its functions throughout its lifespan to provide means of communication for its members and to hire the professional staff which would deal with legislation. Finally, the groups are forced to seek “policy entrepreneurs” – individuals who provide organizational and policy services for financial or professional incentives. As a result, the interest groups often face informal “minimum requirements” of a financial kind – a number of resources necessary to gain an upper hand, or even to register on a political scene at all. Thus, the members capable of providing incentives are favored over the poorer candidates to sustain the interest group. An alternative in the form of increasing the member numbers capable of collectively gathering the necessary amount of money is attractive but inherently flawed: bigger membership increases the need for communication expenditures and introduces the additional complexities into the group’s functioning. While arguably dictated by necessity rather than unfair judgment, such a setting still creates uneven ground and compromises the political integrity of the country, especially considering the amount of influence exerted by the interest groups on the politics of the United States.

A study undertaken by the researchers from Princeton University confirms the assertions of the uneven distribution of political power. By aggregating the scores of the 1,779 policy issues observed in the US from 1981 to 2002 and comparing them to the goals of the influence groups and the interests of the population of different economic strata, two important conclusions were reached. First, the outcomes of the most issues coincide with the goals set by the interest groups and are often deemed favorable by the people, which confirms both the power and the positive character of the influence the groups have in the political process. Second, the outcomes also routinely coincide with the interests of the top-earning minority of the population. At the same time, no correlation is observed between the outcomes and the preferences of average Americans (Bondioli, 2014). In essence, this means that while the interest groups indeed represent the public opinion and allow for the independent influence of the citizens on the political process, it is restricted to the richer part of society. While the goals of the different strata are often the same,1 the limitation leaves a significant segment of the society outside the political process, which undermines the democracy.

Question 3: What makes American political parties unique? Discuss the ramifications of changes in levels of American partisanship (party affiliation and identity) on the power of political parties in the present era?

The American two-party system is responsible for several phenomena associated with the party affiliation and identity. While the changes of affiliation are by no means unique, the bilateral setting creates several implications that change the political landscape seriously enough to be viewed separately. One such phenomenon is the dealignment, a process which, according to consensus, has underpinned the political proceedings for at least half a century. The most visible consequence of dealignment is the decrease of certainty in public opinion on the political matters: the people are less likely to identify with the objectives and policies associated with a certain party. This may be viewed as an improvement since it arguably eliminates the bias and provides a more fair ground for decision making, which is especially relevant for the party members. On the other hand, however, dealignment introduces vagueness and lack of direction, which in turn has an adverse effect on the elections, resulting in the possibility of split-ticket voting (voting for candidates regardless of their party affiliation, which results in less consistent partisan alignment). Besides, it is associated with lower voter turnout. While the former may be considered a positive development given its fairer distribution and focus on the candidates’ traits rather than their affiliation, the latter is harder to justify. Thus, the dealignment can be viewed as compromising the power of political parties in America.

Another phenomenon, which is more complex, is the realignment. According to Schwalbe (2014), the sixth party realignment is currently underway in the US, with the two major prerequisites (the election of a Democratic President and the Great Recession of 2008) already being fulfilled. This, according to the analysis, will lead to the shift of the power distribution of the current parties and even the possible dissolution of the Republican Party.2

Other experts speculate that the current realignment can be viewed as a shaping process, with the majority of the components associated with both the Democratic and the Republican parties being rearranged as a result of the process (Lind, 2016). This means, among other things, that the party members do not rigidly follow cues from party leadership. Both examples illustrate the influence realignment has on the political parties in the US.

References

Bondioli, S. (2014). U.S. Policies favor the wealthy, interest groups, study shows.

Fishkin, J. (2012). What the people think when they’re really thinking.

Goo, S. (2015). What Americans want to do about illegal immigration.

Lind, M. (2016). This is what the future of american politics looks like.

Schwalbe, S. (2014). Commentary: the sixth political party realignment and the end of the GOP?.

Footnotes

  1. According to Bondioli (2014), the study highlights no major differences across the population.
  2. Schwalbe (2014) suggests the Tea Party as a major contributor to the latter.

Renewable Energy Sources: Definition, Types And Stocks

Introduction

This research report analyzes the growing interest of the use renewable energy as an alternative to the non-renewable energy. In the past, the world has totally relied on traditional energy sources like gas, oil, and coal. The global growth of industrialization in the entire world especially in China, India, and developed countries like Japan, Europe, and US has increased global demand for oil (Boyle 2004, p.5). Over years, there have been is a gradual decrease in supply of oil by both OPEC and Non-OEC members. Furthermore, the oil reserves are not sufficient to meet the ever-growing demand for energy. Over dependency on fossil energy is rapidly changing the climate of the world and increasing the threat of global warming.

Issue of discussion

Fossil fuel is a non-renewable energy source. With the current rate of coal depletion, the world reserves will only last for two hundred years. Coal is very expensive to transport and when burned it produces a number of by-products. The by-products include carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and ash, which have severe impacts on the environment. When mixed with water, carbon dioxide forms acid rain. These rains kill vegetation, destroy living organisms, and damage structures. Coal mining destroys large tracks of land and has negative impacts on surface water and ground. Due to these negative impacts, technology has been designed to remove emissions of coal combustion and now power plants follow strict guidelines. This has increased cost of constructing coal power plants.

Nuclear is a controversial energy source. When large nuclei atom split, they release large amounts of energy capable of producing steam and driving turbines and generators. This splitting has caused many catastrophic accidents and thus stringent safety rules and regulations have been implemented in nuclear power plants. Due to this, construction of the plants is very expensive and takes a lot of time to finish. Furthermore, nuclear by products are very toxic. Disposing the nuclear waste has been a challenge ever since.

Issue outcomes

Substitute energy sources have many benefits to the society and the environment and this is the reason why oil and gas companies should shift to renewable energy (Krueger 2010, p.45). These alternative renewable and environmental friendly energy sources are indicated below.

Hydropower

This method uses the force of falling water to generate electrical power. It uses two methods to produce hydroelectric power: pumped storage and dams. In reservoirs, electric power is produced from flowing water that drives the turbines of water generators. The power produced relies on the amount of water and the dissimilarity in height between the water supply and its exit. This height disparity is referred to as hydroelectric head. If the power demand is small, surplus energy drains water to fill up the top water reservoir. If the power demand is high, water pour out through turbines into the subordinate reservoirs.

This system has several advantages. First, it eliminates the cost of fuel. Hydroelectric plants, on the other hand have longer economic lives. The plants can function for more than one hundred years. The plants are very cheap to operate since they are automated and so have few technicians on site who monitor its operation. Another advantage of hydropower is that it can reduce carbon dioxide emission. We can conclude that the cleanest power in the world is hydroelectricity.

Solar power

Solar power involves use of sunlight to produce electricity. This is directly done using photovoltaic cells or indirectly using intense solar power that focuses the energy from the sun to boil water, which is intern, used to generate power. This method has two advantages. First, it is almost 100% free. Solar power does not require ongoing and costly materials such as oil and coal, and the cost of operation is significantly below other conventional power production methods (Langwith 2009, p.34). Therefore, fewer personnel are required to monitor this process. In addition, resources are not extracted or transported to the plant saving on transportation fees..

Another advantage of solar power is the decentralization of power. The conventional fuels like oil and coal are normally transported over long distances. If people switch to solar power, they can produce a lot of electricity enough to fulfil their domestic demand. The supply of energy, on the other hand, will be more stable if people do not import fuel for power generation.

Wind power

Wind power comprises of the alteration of moving wind into a precious type of energy. Wind turbines can be used to produce electrical power, wind pumps for water pumping, and windmills for mechanical power. In order to produce electricity, wind turbine is used to convert wind to kinetic energy. Typically, wind energy devices comprise of horizontal wind turbine designs with several blades that interlinks to a nacelle situated at the top of wind towers. In a wind farm, every turbine is connected with a medium voltage collection of power system and a communication network. At the power generation plants, electric energy’s voltage is raised significantly before being linked to transmission networks.

Wind power has one main advantage. It uses less water and does not pollute the environment. This type of energy exists constantly as long as there is wind. During the process of energy generation, no greenhouse gas is released to the atmosphere. Steady power wind power can be attained if the turbines are positioned in areas with constant and regular winds. Such areas include the coastal areas or mountain sites.

Geothermal energy

Another form of renewable energy source is Geothermal. This form of energy relies on thermal energy produced in the earth’s core. For decades, geothermal energy has been exploited in various countries. Geothermal gradient pushes steady conduction of energy in form of heat form to the surface. The main advantage of geothermal process is that it does not use any form of fossil fuels and so no greenhouse gas is emitted. There is minimal maintenance after construction of geothermal power plant, so only few personnel are employed to maintain the process. In the end, cost is saved.

Recommendation

Fossil fuel, which the world depends on for power is slowly running out. Burning of fossil fuels has led to global warming and serious pollution of the environment. To help avert this danger, I recommend renewable as a better alternative source of energy. More researches should be undertaken to enhance the efficiency of the use renewable energy as an alternative to the non-renewable energy. Equally, governments should offer incentives to encourage their citizens to adopt renewable forms of energy. Renewable energy is a bold step to independence on fossil fuels and cleaner environment for our future generations.

References

Boyle, G 2004, Renewable energy, Oxford University Press in association with the Open University, Oxford.

Krueger, L 2010. The energy crisis, Greenhaven Press, Detroit, MI.

Langwith, J 2009, Renewable energy, Greenhaven Press,Detroit.

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